about 300 - 400 g fresh beetroots
200 ml water
60 ml sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp whole cloves
½ tsp white peppercorns
100 ml spirit vinegar (10 %)
Cut off the long, leafy tops of the beetroots, if still attached. Brush the beetroots clean if they are dirty, but do not damage or pierce their skins. Place the beetroots in a saucepan and add cold water enough to entirely cover them.
Cover the pan with a lid, bring the water to the boil and simmer until the beetroots are tender, yet still firm. Check the tenderness by inserting a fork or a toothpick in them.
Drain the beetroots, let them cool enough to be handled and peel them. Cut off the stem part and the tails. Use gloves to protect your hands from the highly staining beetroot juice. Also protect the working surface, cutting boards, etc, or they could be permanently stained.
To do this, you can use newspaper, plastic, baking parchment, etc.
Pack the beetroots snugly, either whole or thickly sliced, in one large or several smaller clean glass jars, sterilized with boiling water, leaving some room for the pickling liquid.
Boil the water, sugar, salt and spices for about 10 minutes. Add the spirit vinegar, bring the mixture to the boil, then strain the liquid to remove the spices. If the cloves are left in, their flavour will become a bit too overwhelming over time.
Pour the pickling liquid on top of the beetroots in the jar. The liquid must entirely cover the beetroots. Prepare some more pickling liquid, if there is not enough of it.
Close the jar with a tight lid, let it cool down and store in refrigerator. The beetroots can be eaten already on the following day. Serve them to accompany various meat, fish and vegetable dishes, or use them to prepare the traditional Finnish mixed beetroot salad.
Recipe source: adapted from "Etikkapunajuuret", Altia Oyj's Rajamäen-website, accessed 2002/traditional Finnish recipe.